Young Israeli Woman Held Overnight for Praying Outside Temple Mount

The 18-year-old Hebron resident was barred from Jerusalem's Old City for two weeks after police say she and a minor tried to enter the compound through the Muslim Quarter.

Israeli border police officers walk in front of the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount, Jerusalem.
REUTERS

An 18-year-old woman was detained by police overnight Sunday and was ordered to stay away from Jerusalem’s Old City for two weeks, after she and a friend were caught praying near a gate to the Temple Mount gates in the Muslim Quarter.

The girl, who lives in the Hebron hills region, was arrested Sunday night with her friend, a minor, on suspicion of disturbing the peace. The two had circled the wall surrounding the Temple Mount compound. Police said they prayed near the Cotton Merchants’ Gate, one of the gates to the Temple Mount in the Muslim Quarter. Police said they tried to enter through the gate, but the girls deny this.

The minor was released after a few hours, but the woman, who refused to sign an agreement to stay away from the Old City, was kept in a police lockup for the night.

On Sunday night Nati Rom, a lawyer for the Honenu organization, filed an urgent appeal against the woman’s detention, but Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court Judge Miriam Kaslassy denied the appeal, allowing the woman to remain in custody. In a hearing Monday morning, Kaslassy agreed to a police request and ordered the woman to stay away from the Old City for 15 days. The juvenile was ordered to stay away for a week.

Nine teenagers who came to pray near the Temple Mount gates on Monday to protest the woman’s jailing were detained for questioning.

“Unfortunately, young girls with no criminal record, whose only sin was to pray and to walk through the streets of the Old City, were arrested, and this time a teenager spent a night in a lockup for no reason,” said Rom. “The police itself retracted some of the allegations the next day and let the girls go. This is an invalid use of the authority to detain and arrest when no crime has been committed.”

The Students for the Temple Mount group said, “We are witnessing total and illegal chaos that reached its zenith with the jailing of a girl for a whole night for no reason. The policy of discrimination and trampling of Jewish rights is expanding from the Temple Mount itself to its gates and environs. It’s shameful that a judge chose to cooperate with this and distance the girls, thus turning walking and pure Jewish prayer into a crime.”